Monday, 6 November 2017

Millwall F.C. - The Den

Millwall F.C.
Millwall F.C.
The Den Stadium
Zampa Road
Bermondsey
London
SE16 3LN


Ground Number: 59
Date: Saturday 4th November 2017
Score: Millwall F.C. 0-1 Burton Albion F.C.
Competition: Sky Bet Championship
Attendance: 11,507

Your 18th birthday is probably your most important birthdays because it allows you to be able to do a lot more things legally and the most important thing about being a football fan and turning 18 is you can finally drink alcohol legally and have a drink in a pub before and after the game and for me, I was turning 18 in a few weeks and it is something I have looked forward to for the past year or so. Luckily enough, my 18th was going to be on a Saturday which meant I could have a drink and go football on my birthday. My team (Sutton United) had been drawn away to Cambridge United in the FA Cup 1st Round but the game was changed to the Sunday and this meant I had to find a game to go to on my birthday.
There was quite a few grounds that I fancied visiting such as Blundell Park (Grimsby Town), Kenilworth Road (Luton Town), The Valley (Charlton Athletic) and The Den (Millwall F.C.). Grimsby were away to Plymouth so I couldn't go there, Luton were home to Portsmouth but I wanted to go to Luton another day, Charlton were home to Truro but I wanted to go to Charlton during a league game and Millwall were home to Burton Albion so I decided that me and my dad would go to The Den on my 18th.
After deciding that we would be going to Millwall on my birthday, went on the Millwall website and looked for tickets and we found two seats together in the Barry Kitchener Stand in the lower tier and we booked them but if my dad wasn't coming, I would probably be in the upper tier of the Dockers Stand because the view of the pitch is a bit better but my dad doesn't like heights, which is why we booked tickets for two seats in a lower tier. The tickets cost just over £50 which is reasonable for the Sky Bet Championship but when me and my dad go QPR, the tickets only cost us around £40, so Millwall doesn't offer the cheapest prices but it is cheaper than the price of visiting a Premier League ground and anyway, two tickets to a new ground on my 18th birthday for £50 is actually relatively cheap for two groundhoppers.
The week running up to the game was spent mostly at college from Tuesday-Friday doing coursework and typing up notes and it was actually a really chilled week as most of our lessons were for just typing up notes and this was good for me because I have had a chilled week so far and it means I wont be stressed or anything like that for my birthday. After finishing college on Friday afternoon, I went round my Nan's whilst on my way home as she wanted to see me before my birthday and I got back home at 7pm feeling quite tired but excited for Millwall tomorrow on my birthday. I then looked into the history of Millwall F.C. as I don't know too much about them.
Millwall F.C. were founded in 1885 as Millwall Rovers F.C. and were based in Millwall in the Isle of Dogs but are now based at The (New) Den in Bermondsey which has a capacity of 20,146. The club's nickname is 'The Lions' and they currently play in the Sky Bet Championship. Throughout Millwall's early years, they played at a few different grounds but they moved to their new home, The Old Den in New Cross in 1910. Millwall joined the Football League in 1920 at joined the Third Division. They made it to the League Cup final in 1944/45 but lost 2-0 to London rivals Chelsea. The 1960's and 70's saw Millwall have many notable players in their team such as Bryan King and Harry Cripps and are now known as the 'Class of 71'.
Millwall was most famous during the 1970's and 80's due to the amount of hooliganism with their fans and caused a lot of trouble but nowadays, there isn't any hooliganism to be seen at the club and the club has a more family-friendly feel to it. At the end of the 1988/89 season, Millwall were promoted to the First Division but were relegated the next season. In 1993, Millwall left their home at The Old Den in New Cross and moved to the The (New) Den in Bermondsey. In the 2001/02 season, Millwall lost to Birmingham in the Division One Play-Offs and they made it to the FA Cup in 2004 and lost to Manchester United but Millwall now had a place in Champions League but were knocked out in the first round. At the end of the 2014/15 season, they were relegated to League One and they were promoted via the play-offs at the end of the 2016/17 season and they are now back in the Championship.
I woke up on Saturday morning really early at 6:30am and seeing as I couldn't get back to sleep, I spent time on my phone replying to Facebook birthday messages and this kept me busy until around 8am, I then got dressed and went downstairs and then waited for my dad to arrive and he arrived just after 9am, I then opened my birthday cards which was mainly full of money and I ended up getting around £200 and I said to my parents "I could buy a new laptop with that as I need a new one". My dad ended up getting me some pin badges that I needed which was really nice. We then left my house at 10:40am and got the bus up to Colliers Wood and topped up my Oyster Card before getting on the tube.
We then got on the tube and stayed on until Waterloo and then changed onto the Jubilee Line and then stayed on for 3 stops and then got off at Bermondsey and arrived at 11:40am which was a bit earlier than we was expecting and the pub we was planning to go in (The Gregorian) didn't open until 12am so we went in a shop and got some small snacks to eat in the game later. The pub opened at 12pm and we went in and then after some decision making, I decided that I would have a Bulmers for my first legal drink and my dad had his normal order of a larger shandy and annoyingly I didn't really like the Bulmers. The pub was really quiet so we decided to have lunch in here and I went for fish and chips and my dad went for sausage and mash.
The fish and chips tasted really nice and my dad said that his sausage and mash tasted really nice as well so if you're looking for somewhere to get food before the game, I would recommend going in The Gregorian but it isn't very busy and is quiet when it opens so if you like a quiet pub, then this is the pub for you. We then left the pub at 1:20pm and then whilst walking to The Den, we decided to stop off in the Blue Anchor pub which is a 5 minute walk away from The Gregorian and this pub was a lot more lively and we decided to get a half pint of Carling and I didn't really like it as it wasn't really for my taste.
We then left the Blue Anchor at 1:45pm and then we stopped in the betting shop whilst on the way to The Den and I put my first bet on and I did an accumulator for £2 and then walked up to The Den and there was quite a few people walking down the road to the ground and I was expecting a crowd of around 13,000 for today as Burton wouldn't be bringing many fans. Once we arrived at The Den, we got a match day programme for £3 and then went and collected our pre-paid tickets and then went in the club shop and got a Millwall FC pin badge for £2.50 and we had to queue up for around 10 minutes. We then walked round to the turnstiles and went in and today, we are sitting in the Barry Kitchener Stand.
Once inside the ground, we got something to drink, I went for a bottle of water and my dad had a coffee and we then went and found our seats and I said to my dad that the ground feels a lot smaller than what it looks like in the pictures and on YouTube but then again, most stadiums do feel smaller than they look. I then took some pictures of this very smart and modern looking stadium. I then took some pictures of the stadium.
The Den is an all seated 20,146 capacity stadium and was the first stadium to be constricted after WW2 in London. The stadium is made up of four separate two-tiered stands that are of the same height and look fairly similar. On one side is the Barry Kitchener Stand (named after a former player) which has the players tunnel and team dugouts at its front. This simple looking stand, has the same characteristics as both ends with windshields to either side in the upper tier and with the upper tier slightly overhanging the lower tier. The Dockers Stand on the other side, is slightly different having a row of executive boxes running across its middle. Between the East & North Stands in one corner is a large video screen. (Description of The Den is sourced from Football Ground Guide). 
I really like The Den as a stadium, I think it is quite a simple seated stadium but looks really professional and is also quite neat and wouldn't look out of place in the Premier League. After taking some pictures of The Den, we sat down and read the match day programme and then the teams came out just before 3pm and they played the song 'Let Em Come' and then the players and fans silenced for a minutes silence for the people who lost their lives in WW1.
The game kicked off and there was a massive roar from the 11,000 or so people inside The Den and it will the Millwall fans who kicked off with the atmosphere, singing their famous song 'No One Likes Us' and I could really feel the passion from the fans. Burton Albion's travelling support was not very good as they had taken 208 away fans which isn't very good for the Championship and I said to my dad that some non-league teams would bring more but then again, Burton Albion are a small team and don't have many fans.
Millwall started the first half looking very strong as they had the chance to opening the scoring after just 2 minutes but the Burton Albion keeper was on hand to keep Millwall at bay. Millwall then had another great chance to score but one of the Millwall players stopped the ball from going in and denied his team going 1-0 up. Lee Gregory then had the chance to put The Lions 1-0 up but his attempt went wide. Burton didn't even look like scoring in the first half and they only had a few chances and it was mainly from Sean Scannell.
Half time it was still 0-0 and Millwall had dominated the first half and were playing some really good football and should be at least 3-0 up but Millwall definitely looked like scoring and Burton Albion didn't look threatening at all. I quickly went to the toilet and then went back to my seat and then looked at the half time scores and to find out that QPR were 2-0 down at Nottingham Forest but on the positive side, some of my bets were going well so that was good. I then went and got a cheeseburger which cost £4 and it tasted really nice and I wanted another one after I finished it but the game was about to start, but then again, I did have some chocolate bars left from earlier to eat during the game. By the time I had finished my cheeseburger the second half was about to start.
The second half kicked off and Millwall still looked pretty strong and were still dominating the game but the main talking point of the game in my opinion occurred in the 59th minute when Jed Wallace tackled Tom Flanagan and he received a straight red card and Millwall were down to 10 men which did knock their confidence because they would have to play the last 30 minutes with one of their midfielder/wingers off the pitch. Things got worse for Millwall as they were caught and Burton Albion took the lead on 70 minutes via Sordell and the travelling 208 Burton fans went wild and they were reacting like they had won the league and now they were chanting because before they scored, they wasn't making as much of an atmosphere.
Millwall continued to press on even though they were 1-0 down and were down to 10 men and when ex-AFC Wimbledon striker Tom Elliot was substituted on, he made a massive difference and Millwall looked stronger and it showed because into the last minutes of the game, they were creating many more chances but it just wasn't their and to make it even worse, they hit the post from a shot from an angle in the last second and if the ball had a bit more curve on it, it would have gotten Millwall a point but unfortunately, the game finished Millwall 0-1 Burton Albion.
We walked out of The Den feeling disappointed that Millwall didn't get anything from the game but then again we was very happy because we had seen a great game of football but again disappointed that we only saw one goal. This was really a great birthday groundhop because it has allowed me to visit another new ground, another ground in 'The 92', another ground within the M25 and another ground nearer to 100, so today was a great day. We walked back to Bermondsey tube station which is around a 20 minute walk from the ground and it was actually a relaxing walk but we got back on the Jubilee Line to Waterloo, then the Northern Line to Colliers Wood and then got back to my house at 7pm.
I then spent some more time with my mum and the got my things ready as I was staying round my dads tonight and then once we got back to my dads, we went to the Red Lion Pub in Hackbridge for a quick drink and I had a vodka and coke and it wasn't really to my taste which was annoying because I had tried 3 drinks today and I didn't like any of them. We left the pub at 9pm, walked back to my dads and then watched MOTD before going to bed at 11pm.
I would highly recommend going to The Den because it is a really neat and tidy stadium, the fans are actually quite friendly, there is a really good atmosphere there and the food is also really good, especially the cheeseburgers! If I had the chance to go to The Den again, I wouldn't hesitate and I would happily go at least once or twice every season!
Rating:
Stadium: 9/10
Bar: 7/10
Food and Drink: 8/10
Atmosphere: 9/10
Friendliness: 8/10
Value For Money: 8/10
Overall Rating: 8.2/10

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